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Hundreds in Kyrgyzstan rally against gold mine

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Several hundred people are rallying in the capital of Kyrgyzstan in protest at a major gold miner that has been the source of a series of toxic spills in past years, including a cyanide spill into a river.

Some nationalist politicians, including one of the organizers of Wednesday's gathering, Sapar Zhaparov, are demanding the nationalization of the mine.

The protest comes three months after the ex-Soviet nation's parliament backed proposals to review the operating license of a company developing the Kumtor mine, which accounts for 12 percent of the economy.

Critics have alleged that Toronto-based Centerra Gold, which is developing Kumtor, have used accounting tricks to reduce their expenditures. The company has denied the allegation.

Centerra says its project has generated $1.9 billion in benefits for Kyrgyzstan, including $620 million in taxes.